London – 18 April 2023. Following its world premiere at the 2022 BFI London Film Festival, BFI Distribution announces the release of the inspirational documentary NAME ME LAWAND, directed by Edward Lovelace (THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS), in UK and Irish cinemas on 7 July 2023. The film will have a preview screening at BFI Southbank – followed by a panel discussion – and in selected regional cinemas during Refugee Week (19-25 June 2023).
Lawand is a young Kurdish boy, deaf since birth. At five years old his future in Iraq looks destined to be limited and lonely. In desperate search of a better life in a world where he can communicate, his family decide to leave their home. After a treacherous journey and a year in a refugee camp, the help of a deaf volunteer brings them to Derby where Lawand joins the Royal School for the Deaf. As he grows older, the film follows his dramatic progress learning British Sign Language, revealing a bright, charismatic and inquisitive boy, who discovers friendship and a new way to express himself. But just as Lawand is joyfully finding his place in the world, the family face deportation from the UK.
Employing a striking lyrical and observational visual style, writer/director Edward Lovelace spent four years filming Lawand, learning British Sign Language himself. In this moving and inspiring portrait, we follow Lawand’s evolution from extreme isolation to becoming able to be his true self. This is a story about the strength that language gives us, whatever form it takes, and of the power of friendship and community.
Edward Lovelace is best known for THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS, co-directed with James Hall. Nominated for a BIFA and Grierson Award, the 2014 documentary followed singer Edwyn Collins and his slow return to health after a devastating stroke. The duo also co-directed KATIE PERRY: PART OF ME (2012). Lovelace is currently in pre-production for his next feature documentary with Ventureland.
Ahead of the UK-wide release on 7 July, there will be a preview of NAME ME LAWAND followed by a discussion with Edward Lovelace and Steve Crump, OBE, founder and chair of DeafKidz International, and the volunteer who discovered Lawand in the refugee camp in Dunkirk. Taking place on Tuesday 20 June at 18.10 in NFT1, BFI Southbank, the preview is presented in partnership with Counterpoint Arts as part of Refugee Week. Through the arts, culture and education, Refugee Week aims to create spaces where the contributions of refugees are celebrated, people from different communities enjoy positive encounters and refugee experiences are shared and understood in new ways.
NAME ME LAWAND is a Pulse Films production with support from BFI Doc Society Fund (awarding National Lottery funding) and Electric Shadow Company. It premiered in competition for the Grierson Award for Best Documentary at the BFI London Film Festival 2022. Its international premiere is on 1 May at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Toronto, where it is nominated for Best Film in the International Spectrum competition. It has been longlisted for the One World Media Awards 2023 in the Refugee Reporting Award category.
NAME ME LAWAND
2022 / 82 mins / UK / cert TBC
With Lawand Hamad Amin and Rawa Hamad Amin Written and directed by Edward Lovelace
Produced by Fleur Nieddu Lovelace, Sam Arnold, Beyan Taher, Neil Andrews, Marisa Clifford and Edward Lovelace
Executive Producers: Thomas Benski, Tim O’Shea, Diene Petterle, Lisa Marie Russo, Kwesi Dickson and Isabel Freer
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